WHO ARE YA? Stephen Hughes, Operations Manager for Street League

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Stephen Hughes, Operations Manager for Street League, with the Mayor of Warrington

1) Who are ya?

Stephen Hughes, 37, Glaswegian, Operations Manager for Street League

2) Who do you support?

The famous Glasgow Celtic – first British team to lift the European cup

3) What was your first game?

Davie Provan’s testimonial against Nottingham Forrest in 1987. Forrest won 3-1.

4) What do you do for a job?

I am the Operations Manager for a football Charity called Street League. We deliver sport/employability Academy programmes that support 16-25 yr old NEETs (not in employment, education or training) and get them back into work, College or national training programmes.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

Not any professional clubs. I have played football up to Amateur level in Scotland. Street League is currently looking at working alongside professional football clubs. For me, in Manchester, the two on the horizon are Bolton Wanderers FC and Oldham Athletic FC.

6) How did you get into it?

I applied for the role with Street League.

7) What do you get out of it?

It’s so rewarding getting people back into work, College or national training programmes so that they can achieve their potential.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Be prepared to go above and beyond what is expected of you. Apply yourself in everything you do and no matter what you go on to become, be the best at it.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

I would put more commitment into my football when I was around 14/15. Looking back then, I probably had the ability to go on and become a professional footballer but I was easily distracted with other things such as girls and generally having a good time.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

I’ve never had a football hero as such. Even growing up my favourite player would change each season. In recent times my football hero would be Henrik Larsson. Not only one of THE best football players ever to grace a Celtic jersey, he was also a remarkably humble human being and was admired by most fans from other clubs as well.

Get involved with Street League

WHO ARE YA? Emily Draper, Voluntary Performance Analyst at Nottingham Forest Ladies FC

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Emily Draper, Nottingham Ladies FC

1) Who are ya?
Emily Draper, 22, living near Nottingham

2) Who do you support?
Arsenal

3) What was your first game?
Wimbledon vs Cardiff, 2003 as a ball girl. One of Wimbledon’s first matches at The Hockey Stadium

4) What do you do for a job?
Voluntary Performance Analyst at Nottingham Forest Ladies FC

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?
Played for MK Dons Girls Centre of Excellence and Nottingham Trent University. Worked as an intern at MK Dons FC and Stoke City FC.

6) How did you get into it?
Playing in the street with my cousin as a kid.

7) What do you get out of it?
Playing – an adrenaline buzz
Working – a sense of helping someone else to realise their dream.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?
Just believe and keep believing! No matter what stands in your way use it as experience and to your advantage.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?
Kept playing after university and been more confident.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?
As a kid David Seaman and Dennis Bergkamp were favourites.

WHO ARE YA? Roy Mason, Steeton AFC Manager

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Roy Mason, Manager of Steeton AFC

1) Who are ya?

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Steeton AFC crest

Roy Mason, manager of Steeton AFC, I am, despite the youthful looks, 44.

My role as manager involves much more than the running of the club. I get involved in the commercial side, website updates and helping write the clubs programme – non of which the Premiership managers would dream of, but it’s part of the job at this level. As manager I need to generate my own funds to push us on more professionally and also help publicise the club at any opportunity. Those who know me would say I never miss an opportunity to get the club into the local media!

2) Who do you support?

I support Bradford City, a club that has had its ups and downs. I was there on that fateful day on May 11th, 1985 [GM – the terrible Bradford City fire tragedy, where 56 men, women and children lost their lives] and the bond the supporters have with the club is second to none. Last season was a just reward for all those who have stuck with the club throughout the years. They are the most local club to me and I firmly believe you should support your local club.

I also take a keen interest in all West Yorkshire’s non-league sides.

3) What was your first game?

It was a home game against Walsall in the early 80’s. Bobby Campbell was the main man in those days. It was a 0-0 draw but enough for me to go back and the next game saw them beat Wigan 7-2 and I was hooked!

4) What do you do for a job?

I am a footwear buyer for a mail order company; my job takes me all over the world and has allowed me to see the odd game abroad. I’ve visited Barcelona, FC Porto, Fenerbache & Fiorentina to name a few clubs. So, I’ve sometimes been able to combine my work with hobbies. I’ve done a bit of TV guest presenting with work and this has caused much amusement from my players over the years!

It can be hard juggling both jobs and sometimes you leave yourself with no spare time!

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

Not professionally, however I played for Steeton before I became manager, and Keighley Phoenix as well as a couple of Keighley’s succesful Sunday sides, Druids Arms and St Annes Celtic.

6) How did you get into it?

I’ve always been interested in off the field activities as well as those on the field. I became assistant reserve manager, before taking on the position of player/manager with the reserves. After a season doing that I then took over the first team and have guided them to become one of the top WRCA Premier Division sides and in my tenure with the help of a great backroom team we have transformed the club.

7) What do you get out of it?

I love being involved with grass roots football and working with people who feel the same and devote a lot of hours for nothing. I live in the village [of Steeton] and I’m proud to be putting something back into the community as well as pushing myself to be the best I can as a manager.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Go for it – local clubs are crying out for help at all levels. Get involved you will make so many friends and get a great deal of satisfaction from it and you have no idea where it could take you.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

Not a lot really – a broken leg at 24 cost me 18 months out of the game and if I could wind the clock back I would have ridden the tackle instead!!!

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Playingwise, it’s Stuart McCall – a man who gave 110% in everything he did. He was a fine example to any player in always giving your all for the club. I was very disappointed when it didn’t work out for him at Bradford City when he returned as a manger. Maybe he was too close to the club…

Managerwise, I admire Bill Shankly and Brian Clough a lot for their grasp of the basic principles. Their method was keep the game simple and be honest and upfront with players.

In the modern day, Jose Mourinhio seems to have a great man management style and the players want to play for him.

Many thanks, Roy.

You can follow Steeton AFC at www.steetonafc.co.uk

WHO ARE YA? Bill Eaton, LFA referee, tutor, mentor and assessor

1) Who are ya?

Bill Eaton, LFA referee, tutor, mentor and assessor. Referee development office for the Bolton, Bury and District Football League. UAFA C Coach, Born and bred in Bolton.

2) Who do you support?

Support my local team of course, BWFC (GM – good lad)

3) What was your first game?

As a referee I turned up to do a game at a venue where there was ten games, referees where allocated to each game. Some kind referee swapped games. I was stuck with the Grantham Arms v Chamberlain Arms, two local pub teams who made my life hell for 90 minutes. Sent half a dozen of them to their local FA.

As a coach of Eastleigh Tornados in our first ever match, 27 years ago, my team was getting slaughtered when a parent asked me why I only had ten players on the pitch… I then noticed one of my players was sat next to the opposition goal keeper (Sean Wren) making a daisy chain!

4) What do you do for a job?

Work for the Cohens Chemist Group

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

Worked for the PFA at BWFC at the old Burnden Park as a school community coach and also as the clubs educational officer.

6) How did you get into it?

Started coaching by accident, went to join a men’s team and turned up early where kids were training. Manager needed a lot of help so stepped in.

As a referee, got asked to referee a friends team and really enjoyed it, so took the course and qualified.

7) What do you get out of it?

Love helping develop young referees, always gave u18s referees priority in games. Appointed over 200 of them to cup finals in the BBDFL

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

To young referees is to command your game, don’t let managers/coaches/spectators ruin your enjoyment. You’re there to support the junior players. Do as many games as you can. Always save a bit of your ref fee, so when things go bad, buy yourself something to cheer yourself up.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

Not giving up refereeing for about 12 years, not getting bird flu… I was flying a few seasons ago and getting superb appointments, got a county cup quarter final and a women’s FA Cup game. Then the bird flu kicked in, missed both matches, was ill for two weeks. Fitness never recovered.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Has to be Bruce Rioch and the Special One, great managers.

WHO ARE YA? Geoff Pearson, Senior Lecturer in Sports Management and Law at the University of Liverpool

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WHO ARE YA? Geoff Pearson, Senior Lecturer in Sports Management and Law at the University of Liverpool

1) Who are ya?

Geoff Pearson, 39, from Manchester

2) Who do you support?

Manchester United

3) What was your first game?

Manchester United 0 Nottingham Forest 4, December 1977

4) What do you do for a job?

I am a Senior Lecturer in Sports Management and Law at the University of Liverpool. I teach Football & Law and Sports Operations Management and I am Director of Studies for the MBA (Football Industries) programme. My research interests include football crowd behaviour and management, policing, legal responses to crowd disorder and the impact of EU Law on the football industry. I have published two books on football fan behaviour and managing ‘hooliganism’ along with many articles and reports.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

No.

6) How did you get into it?

I completed a PhD at the University of Lancaster looking at legal responses to football ‘hooliganism’. When I submitted my thesis in 1999 a job came up to teach football and law on the MBA (Football Industries) programme at the University of Liverpool.

7) What do you get out of it?

It’s an incredibly rewarding job for someone who loves football. It’s great to see the MBA(Football Industries) students progress and go to work in the football industry. Researching a topic I love is also intellectually stimulating and rewarding when my work can have an impact on improving the management of football fans attending matches.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

There are jobs out there in academia for those wanting to focus on football or sport. If you can get taken on to study a PhD in this area, and are able to publish on the subject, it’s a rewarding and stimulating career choice.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

I would probably have been more ambitious earlier on in my academic career in terms of publication and research funding. But then I wouldn’t have enjoyed the last 15 years quite so much!

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Bryan Robson – best midfielder I’ve seen and an inspirational captain and leader.

WHO ARE YA? Richard Harcus, Projects Manager and Youth Development Director (Arsenal Soccer Schools) at Arsenal F.C

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Richard Harcus, Projects Manager and Youth Development Director (Arsenal Soccer Schools) at Arsenal F.C

1) Who are ya?

Richard Harcus, Age 37 from Glasgow Scotland, currently living and working with Arsenal in Vietnam, SE Asia.

2) Who do you support?

Hibernian FC (Scotland)

3) What was your first game?

As a coach it was a local boys team in the Glasgow area and we won, as a fan it was supporting Linlithgow Rose (a Scottish Junior side and they won Im sure), Professionally it was Rangers V Hibernian and Ibrox, Hibernian won 1 nil with a Darren Jackson penalty.

4) What do you do for a job?

I am a Youth Development coach, I also coach the coaches and specialize in Player and Coach Development. I also work on the administration side with Tournaments and Tours for the young Arsenal Players, working in the newly set up ID program. I take control of all new projects and business growth for the soccer school. This covers the Junior Gunners program, right up to the proposed “Senior” program. I also work with local schools and charity awareness in South Vietnam through Arsenal. These are projects where we can help young Vietnamese children with diet and education through football. Both the Player Development and charity outreach programs are very important to me.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

I played with many boys clubs when I was younger and played up to Scotland School boy level. Coaching, I have worked with FC Barca and AS Roma, amongst other teams, in their Youth Development programs across the world.

6) How did you get into it?

I was a Youth Worker in Glasgow (Scotland) for many years and I took up the role of “coach” for a local youth club … it really just grew from there as I was relatively successful with the team, I then took over as U13 coach for a local boys team in Glasgow, where one of the Directors of the club was Kenny Moyes, brother to the then Manchester United manager (although he was Everton Manager at the time). He helped coach and Develop my sessions and helped me form a more rounded product to my coaching. From there it all took off.

7) What do you get out of it?

There is a huge sense of fulfilment and you can actively see results in front of you, player development is hugely important and massively rewarding, and that is on many different scales, from the youngest players basic early development to installing the correct mindset and adult guidance to the young adult player.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

It sounds like a cliché, but just go for it. Read up on what you want to do, study your National FA pathway, work out what you want to do, what you want to achieve and build a plan around that. Focus strongly on your own development as well as your players, push your boundaries and yourself!

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

I am my own worst critic, but having said that, even the mistakes I have made along the way have helped with my development. A bad result or bad run of results can be turned into a positive by the way you learn from them and bounce back from them. you have to lose to appreciate winning. Its also worth pointing out that at the younger age groups, winning is not all that important, development and enjoyment for the players is paramount. Where this becomes tricky is keeping parents etc. happy and selling your ideas to them so they understand the path that you wish their child to embark on. Getting everyone onside is important and this is a skill you must develop that your not really taught through any football course.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Without a doubt Frank Sauzee and Eddie Turnbull. Turnbull had a glittering career at Hibernian but also was a great manager and taught me a lot about humility, drive and maturity as a coach. Turnbull was not only the first British person to score a goal in European competition but was also the manager of the famed “Turnbull’s Tornadoes” that swept aside Real Madrid, FC Barca and many others. Frank Sauzee’s career speaks for itself with France, Marseille and of course Hibernian.

WHO ARE YA? Darren Wiltshire

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Darren Wiltshire

1) Who are ya?

Darren Wiltshire, 30 years old, English but working in Munich, Germany.

2) Who do you support?

Tottenham

3) What was your first game?

I don’t know my first game unfortunately, probably Spurs v a mid-table team at White Hart Lane…. My greatest game was seeing Santos beat Corinthians, a Robinho masterclass!

4) What do you do for a job?

I work as a Senior football analyst for Opta in Munich….. I have just got back from a couple of years of coaching in Morocco and India.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

I worked as a youth coach for Barcelona setting up their academy and at their camps in India. Also worked for Arsenal Soccer Schools but as a Tottenham fan that is nothing to boast about.

6) How did you get into it?

The analysis – I stumbled into it after completing my a levels.

The coaching – I spent time working with street children in Peru, and realised it was better for them to play football than sniff glue, so I decided to coach them how to play football every day.

7) What do you get out of it?

From the analysis, I get to analyse football for a great company in Opta and a salary!

From the coaching, I get a soul, enjoyment, and the opportunity to inspire kids to be fit and healthy and enjoy playing the game.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

To get into football coaching, take your badges, it is surprising how far a little FA stamp can get if you are prepared to travel abroad.. If you have ambitions to coach in the UK, do not bother coaching abroad because it seems to count for nothing..

To get into analysis, watch as much football as you can at all levels.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

Bloody hell, what a question! (GM – sorry, but stand leading question for all interviewees)

  1. I would have signed for a semi pro club called Estudiantil, when I lived in Uruguay.
  2. I wouldn’t have left the job with Barcelona in India

I was living a dream learning from a top coach and man called Jordi Arasa. Sadly my stomach gave up on me!

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

I feel I need to mention a few! My Dad, Ginola, Hoddle and Maradona

Many thanks Darren. ¡Viva la Revolución!

WHO ARE YA? Baljit Rihal

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1) Who are ya?

Baljit Rihal. Proud British Sikh – London born and bred.

2) Who do you support?

Chelsea FC & England.

3) What was your first game?

On a school trip our Sports teacher took us to England v Brazil (1-1 draw) in 1987 at The Old Wembley Stadium – when Brazilian Mirandinha scored his only international goal – then signed for Newcastle.

4) What do you do for a job?

  • Founder Asian Football Awards (www.asianfootballawards.co.uk)
  • Director Inventive Sports (Sports Consultancy)
  • FA Licensed Players Agent
  • FIFA & UEFA Licensed Match Agent
  • Magistrate
  • Founder British Asian Football Association

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

  • Played for and captained my school teams up to high school level.
  • Had trials for Middlesex County (didn’t get selected though)..
  • Have done consultancy for football clubs – Premiership, Football League, La Liga & Indian iLeague.

Currently working with Premiership clubs to establish setups in India.

6) How did you get into it?

Attended the Chelsea Asian Star event in its first year and was interviewed by the media as to why Asians were not playing top level football.

I was invited to attend forums by The FA – my interest developed from there.

I also became an advocate for Asians in Football, took my FA agents exams – studied hard for it and passed – then founded the Asian Football Awards. Things have spiralled from the first awards in 2012. Held our 2nd awards in October 2013.

It got great media exposure and helped to increase awareness of Asians in Football.

7) What do you get out of it?

My aim is to help improve the representation of British Asians in football. Maybe it is my calling in Life.

Football is a game I have always loved and to be part of the industry is satisfaction in itself.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Believe in yourself and your dreams. Do not give up

Network ! Network ! Network !

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

Maybe getting into the business of football a lot earlier than I did. In hindsight, I should have taken the FIFA Masters degree when it was introduced.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Simply put – Pele.

Many thanks, Baljit.

Follow Baljit on Twitter – @BaljitRihal

WHO ARE YA? Joanna Fisher, Head of Operations at Bollo Football School of Excellence

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Joanna Fisher, Head of Operations at Bollo Football School of Excellence

1) Who are ya?

I am Joanna Fisher, I have lived in London all my life and know it like the back of my hand. I love the versatility and diversity of the Capital. I love the banter and the people who come from all walks of life and enjoy life! I love communicating whether talking or writing. I also spend a lot of time with family in Italy on the coast. I absolutely love it there.

2) Who do you support?

I am a third generation Arsenal supporter, my late grandfather who was from near Camden and my father who was Sports Editor of the Daily Mirror for many years left me with no choice but to support the Gunners. For a short while my father lived in the same road as Highbury and I grew up fully in the world of football.

3) What was your first game?

I was first taken to Highbury when I was four years old! Rather shamefully I have never been to the Emirates as I am always too busy, although one of the greatest Arsenal players who I know did invite me recently.

4) What do you do for a job?

I am Head of Operations at Bollo Football School of Excellence. It has been running as a successful community football club in West London for over 13 years with the aim of getting less privileged kids off the streets, coached and playing in leagues. They get some help from charities including Help a London Child. They have mentors and in the whole time it has been running only 3 have got into crime which is amazing. Some of the kids have gone on to play semi pro and pro also. It is always a huge bonus to discover talent which I enjoy doing a bit of scouting.

I was headhunted in the summer this year to take things to another level with the introduction of more structured coaching, fixtures at semi pro and pro academies, we recently played against Reading FC Academy our U12 who were buzzing at the experience and how well they were welcomed. I am also helping to set up Post 16 courses so the kids are given a good start in life with education like BTEC and NVQ whereas they may not be doing so well in school or supported at home.

We have been talking to teams and clubs abroad also to create tournaments and exchanges which is such an exciting opportunity. The job keeps me so busy but I absolutely love the fact we are working hard to support those less well off in the community.

The man who set up Bollo, Huey Reid is amazing. He has devoted 13 years to helping the kids in West London and they and I all respect him enormously in the community. He has put his heart and soul into community football and I respect him enormously.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

I have never worked for any clubs but most days I am communicating with contacts at various clubs and spreading the word about Bollo or dashing about to meetings.

6) How did you get into it?

I was working at another football academy which I helped to set up and scout kids from London into professional coaching and fixtures including Charlton, Reading, Sunderland and Manchester City. I enjoyed getting to know all the kids and families and watch them live the dream. Everyone wants to be a footballer. It is their passion. But it goes without saying that it is so important to keep the kids realism in touch and support their education and career as so few actually make it. I spend hours with the families supporting them.

7) What do you get out of it?

I love working in football. Seeing the kids turn up and forget their problems while they live out their passion. Football is a real leveller in society. I have met so many amazing people who are passionate about youth development and its importance in the game. How it needs to be updated in the UK and more investment made into our home-grown players of the future. The talent is out there in this country. It just needs to be found early enough and structured coaching given and experience playing regular games through the teens so our players can rival European and other foreign young players that get snapped up by the big clubs.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

I would always advise people to think long and hard about what job they really feel passionate about so that it never feels like hard work! Hard work and thinking outside the box, putting in the extra effort and enjoying it is so important.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

If I could do it all again I would possibly have got more qualifications! But my love of communication seems to have helped me along the way.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Pele. Simply a fantastic player but also a great humanitarian.